Weitz outlines Microsoft plans to rival Google's search dominance

Microsoft's director of search Stefan Weitz has outlined how the company hopes to rival Google in the web search market.

Microsoft's director of search Stefan Weitz has outlined how the company hopes to rival Google in the web search market.

He says he expects the way people use the web will change radically as search goes "three-dimensional".

Weitz, who is on the team in charge of developing Microsoft's search engine Bing, says that the type of service available today "is not where it needs to be".

He told Channel 4 News Online, "Only one in four searches actually has a satisfactory outcome on the first attempt. People are using search engines to make fairly complex decisions - they are trying to figure out the best flight prices using a general purpose search engine."

Microsoft is trying to undermine Google's dominance of the search market and Weitz says the company is trying to understand and provide what customers want.

Part of its strategy so far has been to include live tweets in its search results, to make the search model more "3D" - so users are both searching for content and providing content.

Weitz says, "At the top we have the real-time tweets coming in. Beneath that we have the top articles on a particular keyword. Beneath each article we pull in the most reputable tweets about that article. We calculate the reputation on how often people tweet, how often they are tweeting spam, how often they are re-tweeted.

"We are trying to bring up the most popular articles and what the most prolific twitterers are saying about those articles, so it is a very different experience."

The company also wants to explore more visual types of search, instead of only providing users with a list of links.

"When you have 2,000 items, like handbags or cameras or TVs, the ability for a person to flip through [visual] results as well as structured data, like prices, is still a search but not necessarily what we think of as a search. We think that is a different experience that works better there than a bunch of links."

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